5 Myths That Prevent Freelance Web Developers From Making More Money

Get to know the obstacles for increasing income from web freelancing and how to overcome them based on my experience as a Freelancer and an agency principal.

Freelancers have a limited amount of time, so the only way to increase income is to get more money for every hour they spend working. This is where recurring income comes in handy, as it limits time spent on selling and collecting. Website maintenance is a perfect example of such recurring service. Additionally, it can be automated which makes maintenance far more profitable than building new websites.

Why then do so many Freelance Web Developers pass on the chance for making more money? Here's a list of the most popular reasons I heard from Freelancers in different events all over Europe, USA, and India.

5. I'm not technical enough

Many people consider themselves more artists designing beautiful layouts and implementing good UX then programmers and the nitty gritty of administrative work scares them. But, that’s not a reason to leave money laying on the table. It's not as hard as it seems, there is no need to master PHP programming skills in order to start maintaining websites, nowadays almost all tasks can be automated with proper tools.

4. Making a new website is more interesting than maintaining the existing ones

It's a popular belief that building new websites is far more exciting than dealing with the old projects. The thing is, nobody says you should quit building new things. But you should start spending a small fraction of your time getting some recurring money to get yours bills paid. Refactoring, which is sometimes a necessary part of website management, can be fun too and usually, it's a great way to improve your programming skills. Moreover, keeping in mind that the website needs to be easily maintainable, usually has a positive impact on the project quality.

3. I'm afraid of my old code

Every Web Developer has a website or two that they are not particularly proud of. So, it's not surprising that some of them are afraid of even thinking about getting back to those projects. But abandoning badly written websites so they become outdated usually fires back as those websites tend to get hacked pretty easily. And once they are hacked the website owner may ask some other Web Developer to purge the malware, who usually mentions the quality of the code as one of the reasons the website got infected. But there is no reason to be scared. It's not only a great business opportunity but also a chance to see the progress you made in terms of programming skills. And if the code requires lots of work it can be sold as optimization service for additional money.

2. My customers don’t understand that they should pay for maintenance

It is true that a lot of websites owners think that having a website is a one-time expense and it is a challenge to explain to them that it’s actually not. Working as a Freelancer and then leading an agency for 10 years I’ve had to do just that thousands of times, and I can tell you that most of the websites owners are persuadable. First of all, you need to make sure they understand that website management is not a part of a website guarantee. Then, I usually compare a website to a garden or to a car, explaining how it requires certain work (and associated costs) at the beginning and regular care afterward, to make sure it will serve its owners well for a long time.

1. It’s time-consuming and badly paid

If you do all the management tasks manually, this could be true. But we are living in the XXI century and there are plenty of ways to automate maintenance. There is no need to check backup integrity manually - there are tools for that. There is no need to test the website after an update by manually clicking through it - there are tools for that. And finally, there is no need be afraid of losing custom changes in the code - there are also tools for that. What is more, because maintenance fee is usually fixed, more automation means less time and higher hour rate. Actually, thanks to automation we have implemented in my agency, the margin on maintenance was twice as high as the one on building new websites.

Having busted all the myths above I hope it is clear to everyone that there are no excuses for refraining from website management. If you want to learn more about my tricks how to sell website management efficiently you can find a lot of free resources inside Perfect Dashboard application.

What has been your experience with offering website management? Share your thoughts in a comment below.